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Nearly 11m TV units to reach Mideast and Africa this year.

Dubai: Total TV shipments into Middle East and Africa are expected to touch 10.8 million units this year, an increase of 8.3 per cent when compared to 2007, a research firm said.

"Demand for TVs will be strong in the region as consumers replace old ones or the number of households grows and due to the CRT to Flat Panel TV transition," said Paul Gagnon, Director of North America TV Research, DisplaySearch.

He said prices will fall in consumer electronics, and especially TVs, every year. It depends on the size category as to how much.

Overall we see total TV average selling prices rising slightly on a weighted average basis from $522 in 2007 to $536 in 2008 due to the share gains by LCD and Plasma TVs which sell for higher average prices than CRT TVs. LCD TV average prices should fall about nine per cent year-on-year on average in 2008, with slightly faster declines at larger screen sizes.

"In the first quarter of 2008, total shipments into the region stood at 2.73 million units while MEA revenues are expected to stand at $3.5 billion in 2008, registering a year-on-year growth of 26 per cent," said Paul Gagnon.

He said flat panels are here to stay, with no revolutionary technologies hitting the mass market for many years. Improvements will be focused not as much on performance (but still important), but on improving the usability and connectivity of televisions.

Regarding the importance on design, he said vendors usually respond to customer feedback. In 2006, when Samsung introduced the stylish Bordeaux series of LCD TVs, they were very well received in the market place, and much of the development since has been on improving the aesthetics.

He said 120Hz will be the norm for high-frame rate LCD TV's this year, but certainly LCD TV manufacturers are looking for improved ways to compete with Plasma in terms of moving picture response time, and 180Hz, 240Hz are ways to do this.

Plasma vs LCD

- The advantages of Plasma TV over LCD are better contrast ratio, better ability to render deep blacks, more colour depth, better motion tracking (response time), and more availability in very large screen sizes.

- The disadvantages of Plasma over LCD are more heat generation, does not perform as well at higher altitudes, and shorter display life span (although this too is changing due to technology improvements), more weight, and more delicate to ship.

- LCD TV advantages are no burn-in susceptibility, cooler running, less screen glare, more functional at high altitudes.

- Also, LCD televisions have made great strides in pixel resolution, with a growing number of sets offering a full 1080p (1920x1080) display capability at affordable price levels. On the other hand, the number of Plasma TVs offering 1080p native pixel resolution are still few and far between, as well as being more expensive in comparison to their LCD counterparts.

- LCD TVs disadvantages are lower contrast ratio, not as good rendering deep blacks, not as good at tracking motion.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jul 1, 2008
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